Bombing of great intensity blew away an imambargah in Shikarpur, Sindh, during Friday prayers when the faithful had gathered in high numbers, killed more than 60 people and left dozens in critical conditions.
Jundullah, a sub-group of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility of the attack, this group last year declared its affiliation with Islamic State (IS). Following the attack, religious and political organizations called for a protest strike all over Sindh on Saturday, and three days country-wide mourning was announced.
The gory incident was a reflection of the inadequacy security measures taken by the government of the religious places. Few eye witnesses claimed that there was no security for the imambargah from last many Fridays.
The attack came as Pakistan tries to adopt new measures to tackle extremists following a massacre of 134 children last month at an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar. The government has pledged to crack down on all militant groups, reintroduced the death penalty, set up military courts to speed convictions and widen its military campaign in lawless tribal areas.
Beating back the kind of terror threat Pakistan faces today, in which all sorts of soft targets, from schools to places of worship, are attacked. At this point, there is dire need to enhance the elements of a credible plan to beef up intelligence. Military operations can be conducted in tribal areas and in less populated areas but terrorists come up with a policy to attack the cities and conventional military operation is not the way to deal with it.
Intelligence-led operations in the cities can help to tackle the terrorist attacks in the cities. Terror cells inside the cities must be broken up from within, by minimizing the ability of the terrorists to carry out attacks. Federation should not leave provinces on their own to do this job because terrorists do not really care about the provincial boundaries.